Caroline Attardo Genco
Research in my laboratory spans basic, translational, and global health specifically as it relates to bacterial pathogens. Areas of focus include the effects of chronic infections on systemic health, sexually transmitted infections, and oral and respiratory infectious diseases. Our studies on chronic inflammation focus on the host adapted pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis which has been linked to development of systemic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Our laboratory has defined the role of specific innate immune signaling pathways in immune cells that contribute collectively to pathogen-induced chronic inflammation. Using defined animal models of inflammation we are characterizing the roles of innate immune pathways in inflammatory processes in vivo. Work in the area of regulatory mechanisms in bacterial pathogens is focused on understanding mechanisms utilized for bacterial colonization, and in particular in the ability of in vivo environmental factors to modulate bacterial gene expression. Transcriptional regulatory mechanisms have been defined on a global level in the pathogenic Neisseria species. Our translational work has encompassed clinical studies evaluating immunological and microbial responses following N. gonorrhoeae infection in both a US cohort and subjects in China.